It’s nearly wedding season, so congratulations to all couples en route to their “I do” moment. We won’t say “en route to the altar,” because altars aren’t a necessary element anymore—and neither are white dresses, seating arrangements or shoes, for that matter. A luxury wedding in 2014 is all about creating maximum joy and meaningfulness for the couple and the guests. If traditions fit into the plan, great, if not, they get a reboot. Here are some of our favorite trends, sourced from wedding experts in top destinations.
The #SocialMedia Wedding
To hashtag or not to hashtag? That is always the question, and according to wedding expert Rita Moore of La Valencia in San Diego, couples these days either unplug altogether from social media during the wedding, or go the opposite direction and make it a major element throughout. The #socialmedia #wedding includes selfies of every moment, a special #hashtag just for the wedding, and special pages or albums on Instagram, Facebook and beyond.
Frosted glass favors and fussy centerpieces are a thing of the past. Modern couples want decorations and gifts that tie into something experiential and personal. The catering director at Portland’s Sentinel Hotel reports that wildflower seed packets are a very popular wedding favor among nature-loving Cascadians. In the heart of Manhattan, Andaz 5th Avenue’s event manager Chiara Tirapelle created a wall of paper cranes in honor of a poem about cranes that had special significance to the couple. Each wedding guest got a paper crane as well.
Also known as a smaller destination wedding, the quasi-elopement is popular with couples who want to escape from reality, but keep some of the trappings. Romance-intensive resorts like Sandals Resorts excel at planning these anywhere from weeks to four hours in advance for wedding parties ranging from “Just us two”—simple and free with an all-inclusive stay—to up to 20 or 200 person affairs.
Spontaneous Vow Renewal
Here’s an encouraging trend from the long-term married demographic: Couples who have been married for many years are saying “I do,” again, and it’s often the man who sets it up as a surprise. Hotels including Sandals and Maui’s multi-gen favorite Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort report that husbands are looking to make big romantic gestures, not only on major anniversaries, but sometimes just to show they care.
Whatever you do, don’t call them cupcakes. Cakelets—tiny scale renditions of wedding cakes, complete with multiple tiers and miniscule toppers—are popping up everywhere these days. Chef Tammy Alana of Alizé at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas sees couples ordering cakelets as favors, anniversary gifts, and in lieu of one massive wedding cake. She hopes to see (pro tip here, guys) more people ordering them as proposal props in the future.
Barefoot weddings are so romantic; holding your expensive shoes in your hand while you hike across the sand to the ceremony on the other hand, is such a pain. Hence, the “shoe check” organized by places like Jewel Resorts in Jamaica. Guests are encouraged to be carefree and casual in this beachy spot, with their footwear safely waiting on dry land.
After the Party, It’s The…
Since wedding receptions tend to be for the whole family, planned after-parties are a popular way for the bride and groom to celebrate with friends late into the night. “After the cake is cut and the old folks go home, couples are organizing personalized after-parties in VIP lounges, special tents, or hotel suites, so they can keep the party going,” says Karen Bussen wedding designer for Palladium Hotel Group. The Private Beach Bash (pictured) is popular with night owls.
Trying to keep noise down after a certain hour? Wedding guests can still get down on the dance floor to music that only fellow guests with headphones can hear. A quirky festival and nightclub popup for several years, “silent disco” is now on offer from certain forward-thinking special event venues like the Loden Hotel in Vancouver.
Lena Katz is the author of the Travel Temptations series (SIP, SUN, SNOW), published by Globe Pequot Press in 2009. Lena is also a travel expert for Celebrations/1800FLOWERS and WEtv (online and on-air). She contributes to the South China Morning Post and ABC News online. Lena is a former Orbitz Travel blogger and former columnist for the LA Times. She's been published in Brides Magazine, Robb Rep...(Read More)